Jo In Smoke

Boz Looan – Selling the Wind 2002

Boscastle - a year long community project with the National Trust and the people of Boscastle

From 1998 a relationship grew up between producer Antony Waller and National Trust regional staff based at Lanhydrock that explored the creative opportunities between Trust properties and the communities in which they exist. It began originally with a project at Lanhydrock House itself and Rambert Dance called ‘The Star Path’.  The Trust were then interested to develop creative ideas inspired by the history of and stories related to the village of Boscastle. We initiated a long series of community meetings to discuss ideas, values and ways of working. Over about 6 months we arrived at a plan for a 12 hour mid-summer community celebration that would incorporate a number of different elements and community groups. Our challenge was to tease all the ideas and initiatives into a coherent whole. Along the way we heard about stories of ‘wise women’ who would ‘sell the wind’ to sailors leaving on ships in the form of a series of knots on lengths of rope. We agreed that at its heart we were creating a big community celebration – in Cornish a Noz Looan or Night Party. So we called it ‘Boz Looan: Selling The Wind’

Local people wanted to bring back a procession event which had not been seen since the 1970s, so Will Coleman, our project MD, set about bringing together musicians and our artists team led by John Keys worked with local schools and community groups to create visuals and banners.

Our artist team worked with 6 local primary schools and Bodmin College to create a series of performance events that were dotted around the harbour area like a performance collage, using gardens, roadways, walls and courtyards.

The choreographer for Boz Looan was the legendary  TC Howard (currently on tour with Gary Clarke’s ‘COAL’). TC recruited a small team of professional dancers including, amongst others, Robyn Simpson, Helen Tiplady, Jo Tagney and Sam Williams. The dancers created set pieces including the Bathing Belles (below) on tall stools set in the river bed.

 

As part of the after dark celebrations we managed to convince the National Trust ranger Jeff Cherrington to let us create a large fire sculpture of the Rocky Valley maze on one side of the valley which was a real challenge for the man with the strimmer.

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